The Master responded, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (Matthew 16:23). Did the master of darkness momentarily possess Simon Peter at Caesarea Philippi? Were Peter’s objections so unreasonable as to require a demonic explanation?
When Yeshua asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”, Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” It was the correct answer, but Yeshua warned the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah. Why? Was that not that the whole point of His proclamation, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”?
In context, this does not refer to authority to bind and loose evil spirits in spiritual warfare. The terms to bind and to loose (forbid and permit) appear literally thousands of times in the Mishnah, Talmud, and rabbinic literature. The Torah vested the power to bind and loose in the Sanhedrin.
The popular folk-image of Saint Peter receiving souls at the gates of heaven derives from this passage. The "keys to the kingdom" are not literal keys, nor are they keys to the heavenly paradise.
If we think of Hades or Hell as the capital city of Satan’s kingdom of darkness wherein his demon’s live and torture the souls of the deceased, we have accidentally borrowed some imagery from Greek mythology. In Isaiah 38, the term “gates of Sheol” is a metaphor for the passage between life and death.
The Master’s miracles seemed to leap from the prophecies of Isaiah: “The ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy” (Isaiah 35:5-6). Some of his miracles, however, illustrated aspects of his mission and teaching.
The Master regarded a person who hosted His disciples and heeded their words as if he or she had hosted Him and listened directly to His teaching. The apostles officially represented Him, and receiving an apostle is the same as receiving the one who sent him.
After telling His disciples that they must be ready to lay down their lives in martyrdom for His sake, even if it meant crucifixion, He warned them that if they tried to save their lives by denying their faith, they would lose their life in the World to Come.
Believers sometimes speak about difficult situation which must be patiently endured as one’s “cross to bear.” For example, a person might say, “I guess my poor health is just my cross to bear.” In the days of the disciples, however, the saying had a more specific implication.